April 27, 1950

LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

We will now revert to resolution 2.

2. That the sales tax on the following articles be repealed effective on and after March 29, 1950-ice cream, drinks prepared from fresh milk; prepared whipping cream.

Topic:   EXCISE TAX ACT AMENDMENT
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

This resolution proposes the removal of the sales tax on ice cream, drinks prepared from fresh milk, and prepared whipping cream. I wish to make one or two brief

observations. These foods that are enumerated here fall within the category, generally speaking, of prepared foods; but there are a number of prepared foods that are still subject to sales tax. One can certainly approve the proposal to remove the sales tax on these three, but one wonders at the same time why the government should stop there. In the case of prepared foods that are essential, why should not the removal be extended to them? We are now faced with the situation where the cost of living is the highest in the country's history.

Topic:   EXCISE TAX ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

Does the hon. member propose to make a proposal modifying this resolution? If he is not prepared to do so I would say he is not in order unless he speaks on ice cream, drinks prepared from fresh milk, and prepared whipping cream.

Topic:   EXCISE TAX ACT AMENDMENT
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

I am speaking on the subject of prepared foods, of which these are three examples selected by the government. In his budget speech the Minister of Finance was able to put an estimate on the loss of revenue on these three items. At page 1216 of Hansard, referring to this particular proposal, he says;

We have received strong representations from the dairy interests that the removal of this tax will give encouragement to the consumption of ice cream and dairy drinks at a time when sales of certain other milk products are declining. The loss of revenue in this item will be about $2 million in a full year.

I submitted an inquiry some weeks ago to the following effect:

What amounts have been collected, by years, and in the aggregate, by way of sales tax from the outset of levy thereof on (a) ice cream; (b) other foods; (c) clothing; (d) household furniture?

The answer submitted by the Minister of National Revenue was, to say the least, cryptic. It said:

Information not available. No separate statistics are maintained of sales tax collected on individual commodities.

Nevertheless it has been possible for the Minister of Finance, on giving some thought to this question, to put an estimate on the actual loss of revenue to be anticipated from the removal of the sales tax on these three particular commodities. It seems to me, since the Minister of Finance is in a position to do that, the Minister of National Revenue should be in a position at least to give some information in reply to the inquiries that I submitted; and I wonder if it is still not the intention of the department to submit the information in reply to the questions asked about the other foods.

I am not going to risk your disapproval by saying anything about the subject of clothing or household furniture. I am confining myself strictly to the subject of prepared foods, of which these are examples.

Topic:   EXCISE TAX ACT AMENDMENT
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John Ewen Sinclair

Mr. Sinclair:

Mr. Chairman, the principal reason, of course, why these three prepared foods have now been made exempt, where there are still a variety of prepared foods such as pickles, catsup, sauces, olives, horseradish, mustard and so forth still not exempt, or mainly excluded, is that demands have been made by farmer members of this hoo'e for further aid to their industry. That was the advice given by the minister, and it is the advice that was given nere a little earlier on the same thing.

The actual list of these prepared foods which are still not sales tax exempt is a fairly small one, and they are not of the types which are nominally regarded by the average family as being essen'ial for their daily diet. These foods are commonly used, but what apparently is more importani to the farmer members of this house is that it gives a little more encouragement to the dairy industry.

Topic:   EXCISE TAX ACT AMENDMENT
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Is the list of foods the parliamentary assistant has ju=t read a complete list of the foods on which sales tax is still levied?

Excise Tax Act Amendment

Topic:   EXCISE TAX ACT AMENDMENT
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John Ewen Sinclair

Mr. Sinclair:

No. They are under the one heading here. I think if hon. members will study their own lists they will find therein not very many of the ordinary foods. I think there are none of the ordinary foods and not very many of the more special types here that are not exempt from sales tax, and certainly the inclusion of these three is a thing which will be welcomed not only by the farmers of the country but by the people generally.

Topic:   EXCISE TAX ACT AMENDMENT
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Resolution agreed to. Progress reported.


BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

Tomorrow we will go into committee of ways and means, and continue the consideration of these resolutions. If they pass, we will go into supply and take up the estimates of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

May I ask in which order the remaining resolutions will be taken up, income tax and then customs, or vice versa?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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John Ewen Sinclair

Mr. Sinclair:

Income tax next, and then customs.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order.



Friday, April 28, 1950


April 27, 1950